Sometimes a stalk or rod of any plant, as of the hyssop, Matthew 27:48 John 19:29.
Usually, however, the word reed denotes a reed or cane growing in marshy grounds, Job 40:21 Isaiah 19:6; slender and fragile, and hence taken as an emblem of weakness, 1 Kings 18:21 Isaiah 36:6 Ezekiel 29:6; and of instability, Matthew 11:7. "A bruised reed," Isaiah 42:3 Matthew 12:20, is an emblem of a soul crushed and ready to sink in despair under a sense of its guilty and lost condition. Such a soul the Saviour will graciously sustain and strengthen. The reed of spice, or good reed, (English version, "sweet calamus," Exodus 30:23, "sweet cane" Jeremiah 6:20) also called simply reed, (English version, "calamus" or "sweet cane,") Isaiah 43:24; Song of Solomon 4:14; Ezekiel 27:19, is the sweet flag of India, calamus odoratus. Reeds were anciently used as pens and as measuring-rods, Ezekiel 40:5 42:16. The Hebrew "reed" is supposed to have been about ten feet long.